October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so there is no better time than now to learn about the risks and importance of screening for early detection. Your life may just depend on it.
It is estimated that over 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and more than 40,000 will die.
Although it is very uncommon, men are also at risk. Approximately 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer every year and roughly 440 will die.
While some risks of breast cancer cannot be evaded, such as race, age, and family history, the following factors can be.
- A sedentary
lifestyle with little physical activity
- A diet high in
saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetables
- Being overweight
consumption of alcohol. The more alcohol you consume, the greater the
- Radiation therapy
to the chest before the age of 30
- Combined hormone
replacement therapy, as prescribed for menopause
Avoiding these factors can reduce the chance of breast cancer diagnosis, but there is no sure way to prevent it.
During the month of October, many organizations work to bring breast cancer awareness to men and women alike.
Awareness is not achieved solely by selling merchandise emblazoned with the pink ribbon but by discussing risk factors and the importance of regular screenings.
Women of all ages are highly encouraged to perform self-exams at least once a month. Performing these exams on a regular basis will help women identify any changes that should be reported to their healthcare professional.
Fullerton resident Gwendolyn Thomas was diagnosed with breast cancer after she noticed a small bump on her left breast.
“At first I thought it was a bug bite, so I put ointment on it,” Thomas said, “I noticed swelling the next morning and immediately made a doctor’s appointment.”
Early detection of lumps or tumors can greatly increase the chance of overcoming the disease.
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important” John Hopkins Medical Center said.
Less than two years after being diagnosed, Thomas is in remission and actively learning about research efforts and treatment options.
Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website for instructions on how to conduct breast self-exams and additional information.
To contribute to breast cancer awareness, the Fullerton Firefighter’s Association is conducting their 5th annual Pinktober event.
With the theme “Fired up to find a cure”, the Fullerton Fire Department is sponsoring Maxine Smith and Gwendolyn Thomas for this year’s event. All funds raised from merchandise sales and donations will be contributed to their beneficiary of choice, St. Jude Memorial Foundation.
Over the past four years, the campaign has raised and contributed over $80,000 to cancer research.
“We would love to raise a million dollars,” Fire Chief John Miller said, “but our goal for the month is to hit a cumulative total of $100,000.”
As a tribute to those affected by cancer, the famous Pink Fire Engine will be available for pictures and inscriptions at events throughout the month.
To find out where the Pink Fire Engine will be next or to purchase Pinktober merchandise, visit http://www.ffdpinkproject.org/.
Make the most of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by making it a topic of discussion and participating in local events. Gaining knowledge and understanding of this disease is the first step to increase the survival rate.